The Only Person Who Has The Authority To Define Success Is You

Who has the power and authority to define what success is? The reason I am asking this question is because of a recent conversation I had with my best friend. Our mutual friend became the topic of conversation, and I was told that he happens to be making much more money than the two of us. My friend expressed a slight resentment at the fact that him and I are both college graduates who are making less money than our mutual friend who, as far as I know, never saw college in his future.

There are a few things that I find wrong with my friend’s resentment.

The first one is the fact that graduating from college does not guarantee financial prosperity. Teaching for a public elementary school, for example, is a job that requires a college degree, but does not offer a highly desired salary. 

The second issue I have is that my friend is thinking in the short term. Just because him and I are making less money now does not mean we will be unable to make more money in the future. A salary that might sound large for someone in their twenties could potentially be an unlivable wage for someone in their forties. If someone is happy with their salary at a young age, there is the potential that they will become content and not look to strive for upward mobility. While someone who is not content with their current salary will seek jobs and positions that pay more, and gain skills in negotiating for a higher salary.

The last problem I have with my friend’s attitude is one that permeates throughout a large portion of society: that success is tied to how much money you make.

I am not concerned with how much my colleagues are making, because my happiness and my success do not depend on the lives and actions of others. I define what success is, and success to me is the relationship I have with my family, my friends, my God, and myself.

With that being said, I am aware that many of us desire to live comfortably. So we attend college, stay up all night studying in law school, or work tirelessly on our Master’s thesis; all with the notion in the back of our minds that this one path with lead to financial freedom. Yet there are alternative career paths that are not being promoted as often as they can be. 

One of those paths is social entrepreneurship. 

For those who are unsure about their future, I highly recommend looking into this career path. Since you are reading this article from Youth Time, there is a high probability that you have already read about young social entrepreneurs and their successes, or programs and fellowships that offer opportunities for these types of individuals.  

Do you have a problem in your community, and an idea for a business that could help solve that problem?

You are not alone.

Last April I attended a conference in Lithuania where I met young people from all over the world that have created businesses which solve problems in their communities. This experience inspired me to change my career path (I wanted to be a teacher) and start my own business venture.

While my personal lifestyle blog just launched this January and has a small following, my goal is to involve a team of contributors in order to make it something much bigger. 

The beauty in all of what I have said is that you can go to college, attend law school, or start your own business, and find failures or successes in any of those choices. There is no clear-cut way to success because no one has ever followed the same path, and because ultimately, the person who has the power and authority to define success is you!

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